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Conkright v. Frommert

Docket No.: 08-810
Certiorari Granted: Jun 29 2009
Argued: January 20, 2010
Decided: April 21, 2010

PartyNames: Sally L. Conkright, et al. v. Paul J. Frommert, et al.
Petitioner: Sally L. Conkright, et al.
Respondent: Paul J. Frommert, et al.

Court Below: United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Sally L. Conkright, et al.
v.
Paul J. Frommert, et al.
Question Presented:

1. Whether the Second Circuit erred in holding, in conflict with decisions of this Court and other Circuits, that a district court has no obligation to defer to an ERISA plan administrator's reasonable interpretation of the terms of the plan if the plan administrator arrived at its interpretation outside the context of an administrative claim for benefits. 2. Whether the Second Circuit erred in holding, in conflict with decisions of other Circuits, that a district court has "allowable discretion" to adopt any "reasonable" interpretation of the terms of an ERISA plan when the plan interpretation issue arises in the course of calculating additional benefits due under the plan as a result of an ERISA violation.

Question:

1) Did the Second Circuit err in instructing the district court that it had no obligation to defer to the ERISA plan administrator's reasonable interpretation of the terms of the plan if the administrator reached its interpretation outside the context of an administrative claim for benefits? 2) Did the Second Circuit err in holding that the district court had "allowable discretion" to adopt any "reasonable" interpretation of the terms of the ERISA plan when the interpretation issue arose in the course of calculating additional benefits due as a result of ERISA violations?

Note:

JUSTICE SOTOMAYOR TOOK NO PART

Holding: reversed and remanded
Vote: 9-0
Recused: J.,
Read CONKRIGHT V. FROMMERT opinion (PDF)